WASHINGTON The American College of Physicians (ACP) today gave its strong support to the bipartisan High-Need Physician Workforce Incentives Act of 2007. The six-part bill introduced today by Representative Michael C. Burgess, MD, and Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas focuses on workforce issues of physicians.
Rep. Burgess and Rep. Cuellar have recognized the critical importance of enacting legislation to reverse a rapid decline of physicians going into primary care and other generalist fields, said David C. Dale, MD, FACP, president of the American College of Physicians. We enthusiastically endorse their efforts to provide scholarships and debt relief for physicians who choose primary care and agree to practice in critical shortage areas.
The first proposal of the High-Need Physician Workforce Incentives Act of 2007 suggests a scholarship program for general physicians in high-need areas. The proposal would empower the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to make grants to health facilities to alleviate shortages of internal medicine, family practice, pediatric, emergency medicine, general surgery and OB/GYN physicians. Scholarship recipients will, after completing residency, serve as generalist physicians at high-need facilities for a year for each year they received a scholarship.
The bills second proposal provides for a loan repayment program to alleviate shortages of the same types of physicians. For each year of service at a high-need facility, HRSA will pay up to $35,000 of the principal and interest of an individuals educational loans.
These two parts of Rep. Burgesss and Rep. Cuellars bill will create targeted incentives, as ACP previously has proposed, to encourage students to pursue careers as primary care physicians, Dr. Dale noted. The legislation also will provide grants to states to provide physicians with care coordination fees for managing and coordinating care, in partnership with
Contact: David Kinsman
American College of Physicians